Imagens das páginas

published; and he died a month before the handbill was made public by the Black Dwarf. But he was the friend of James Mill and of Place. Only a few weeks before his death his declaration in the House of Commons that "the welfare of the working people mainly depended upon themselves" was caught up by Place as a "most important truth" and sent out, with a handbill, as a propagandist argument.119 One hesitates to take seriously the jocose remark of Booth, to the effect that the decrease of births in Ireland,

if not allowed to be miraculous, can be accounted for only upon the supposition, that some Radical Economist has been lecturing at Portarlington on the subject of procreation


We may but conjecture whether to count Ricardo among the conservatives like Malthus and McCulloch, or to class him with his immediate disciples as an adherent of the principle of artificial restraint.

It was by fixing their attention on the principle of utility, as James Mill had counseled them, that these serious-minded reformers arrived at the conclusions which have here been described. They judged of utility with outlook narrowed to the measure of the orthodox economics of their day: an incipient wages-fund theory which meted out destruction to the laboring class in the simple, harsh ratio of its numbers. And if, out of the experience of Place or the coarseness of Carlile, it was suggested that parenthood was obedience to natural principles as well as conformity with rules of economic demand, the result was to enlarge the concept of utility by an idea of marriage debased to the level of a segregative moral police. Once, indeed, Place indulged in a vision of a higher position of woman, irradiating society with new influence for good;121 and in due time a grosser reflection of this ideal showed in Carlile's work122—all to be the result of a reduction in the number of births. But mostly utility was the simple, grim avoidance of Malthusian misery and vice.

The same narrowness of outlook failed to reveal the disad11 Letter to the editor of the Labourer's Friend, 12 July, 1823, Place MSS., vol. 68, Hendon.

120 Letter to Malthus, p. 122.

Letter to Carlile, Aug. 17, 1822. Vol. 68, Hendon.

12 Cf. especially the Dedication of vol. xi of The Republican.

vantages of the restrictive plan. Place believed the aggregate of vice would be reduced. Carlile could not see that "Every Woman's Book" had opened the way for "a particle of new evil."123 Save for the warning voice of the Black Dwarf the conviction prevailed that reduction of numbers could never be carried too far among the working classes-that is, too far to suit the needs of industry. The concentration of preventive practices in those classes where economic wants press less heavily was an anomaly hardly to be foreseen.

Apprehension of the menace of unequal increase of the different social ranks first became serious when evolutionary biology had pointed out the significance of hereditary differences in human ability. In the decade of the twenties such differences were all but unrecognized, and the selective improvement of types through stress of numbers was unknown. For Place and his contemporaries there was no fear of degeneracy, following the abatement of natural selection, as comforts increase-no thought of "race suicide" and the decline of nations which die at the top. "Laws of nature" connoted traditional prejudice. Against such laws Place championed Bentham's principle of utility as alone suited for the guidance of mankind. His argument that "Nature is a blind, dirty old toad"124 revealed an almost dramatic unconsciousness of the coming reaction in population theory.

The morality of neo-Malthusianism, according to other than utilitarian standards, is not for discussion here. But the whole subject merits discussion more far-sighted and enlightened than it has yet received. For the history of the neo-Malthusian movement impels one to believe that beneath the manifest abuses of the radical check, and beyond the vision of most of those who have been its supporters, is the ideal of a larger result-a striving for better adjustment between the momentary exactions of economic civilization and the more fundamental conditions of the continuity of human life. The propaganda came into existence at a time when the need for such adjustment was severe. Both the proposal and the revival of artificial restraint were due to able men, overradical, perhaps, but indubitably earnest in the popular cause. In less than a hundred years-rather, indeed, in about thirty-and despite all opposition, preventive practices have diffused themselves through most of the advanced nations of the world. 123 The Lion, vol. ii, p. 422.

124 Letter to Carlile, vol. 68, Hendon.


movement with such auspices and such vitality, and with consequences so mingled, good and bad, forces itself upon us as a social problem which can hardly be solved by the protestations of persons who turn their faces away from a situation they have not ventured to understand.




No part of the United States would be benefited more by a wise and satisfactory solution of the immigration problem than the Pacific Coast. Owing to its geographical position, its future growth and prosperity will depend largely upon the maintenance of friendly relations of the countries of the Orient. Moreover, the recent acquisition of the Philippine Islands has brought us into direct contact with the nations of the Far East and awakened their interest in, and directed their attention to, all matters affecting their relations to the United States. The recent industrial transformation of Japan and the successful assertion of her right to rank as a world power is enough to convince the most skeptical that the Orient is destined to play no unimportant part in the political and economic life of the future. The Western World has intruded upon the seclusion of the Chinese Empire, and its vast population is being awakened to the necessity of introducing the industrial civilization of the Occident. The full effects of this impending change in a country so densely populated and possessing natural resources so rich and varied, it may be difficult to foresee; but, that it will react in an important way upon the political and economic interests of the Western World, is beyond question.

It is highly important, not only to the Pacific Coast states, but to the entire country, that in our policy regarding immigration, we should avoid as far as possible all appearance of discrimination against Oriental nations. There is no doubt, however, that ample justification exists for the feeling prevalent on the Pacific Coast that Oriental immigration is highly undesirable. But if this end can be attained without legislation specially directed against Oriental races, the advantages of such a course are obvious. The time is approaching when Oriental nations will expect and should be accorded much the same treatment at our hands as the heretofore more favored nations of the Western World. We can hardly hope to maintain a policy of exclusion with reference to China and Japan and at the same time freely admit the immigrants of other races. A discrimination such as this, even if it did not eventually lead to political complications, might seriously inter

fere with the development of our trans-Pacific trade. If we discriminate against the Asiatic nations in our immigration laws, we should expect, when the opportunity presents itself, to be paid back in kind. The Chinese boycott of 1905, against American goods, is some indication of the difficulties in which the continuance of this policy would probably involve us. A tenable policy—one which would not be a source of constant irritation in our foreign relations should, in so far as possible, treat all nations alike.

But whatever may be said of the method by which we have sought to exclude Orientals, the desirability of keeping such immigration within narrow limits can hardly be questioned. This conclusion does not necessarily imply a belief on our part that the Oriental races are inferior to our own, but that they are fundamentally different, and if they were admitted in considerable numbers, it would mean a race problem of serious import. Our experience with Oriental immigration in California and Washington has been sufficient to show us that it is not the part of wisdom to pursue a policy which makes it possible for Orientals to come into this country and engage in occupations which bring them into direct competition with our own laboring population.

Our original policy, if indeed we had any distinct policy respecting immigration, was of the laissez faire type. Some moral encouragement was given to immigration through the humanitarian purpose to make this country a refuge for the unfortunate and the oppressed of all nations. But this sympathy for the foreigner who was seeking to better his condition, was powerfully reënforced by the self-interest of the employing classes who wanted an abundant supply of labor. The free spontaneous movement of labor to a land of larger opportunity was thus greatly accelerated through the organized effort of employers and steamship companies to make immigration a source of direct profit. The artificial stimulus thus given to immigration greatly increased the supply of unskilled labor, bringing to this country large numbers of low grade immigrants who lacked the initiative, the energy, and the means which would have made it possible for them to come before the days of cheap ocean transportation and the exploitation of immigration as a regular organized business by the great steamship companies. While something can be said in favor of a liberal attitude toward purely voluntary immigration, nothing can be urged in defense of this active encouragement of immigration for the sake of the profits which it will

« AnteriorContinuar »